After the early dismissal of school in the middle of March, students, teachers and parents were unsure of if or when they would be allowed to step foot back into the school. Despite the uneasiness and uncertain aspects surrounding the start of the school year, those who opted for in-person instruction are back for another year at Gibson Southern. Before the return to school, an option of virtual learning was sent out to the families of students, about 83 students chose on-line virtual school with the Indiana Virtual Academy.
With all of the new regulations by the Center for Disease Control put on everyday life, COVID-19 has been a popular conversation topic, especially in relation to how it affects the school atmosphere.
After learning South Gibson schools were set to start on their originally planned day of August 13, a list of rules and regulations followed for students:
Masks are to be worn anytime a six feet distance can’t be obtained or if the students are 3 feet apart facing the same direction
Desks must be sanitized after each class if they were used
Lunch tables must be cleaned between groups
Families must screen their children each morning by taking their temperature and checking for symptoms
Divided clinic locations will be provided in each building
There meticulous seating charts must be maintained in all classes, including lunch
With all the new rules and regulations, many students and staff members have noticed changes in the way that everyone moves though their days and interacts with each other.
“It’s more isolating this year, which I guess is the point,” librarian Jennifer Schneider said. “I think with the shorter passing periods, teachers aren’t coming out of classrooms and students aren’t stopping by to visit. It just feels very different from last year, and I know that it will take some time to adjust. I like to visit with my coworkers and with the students. Everyone seems to be walking with their head down and keeping to themselves.”
Information has been sent out for an alternative schooling. Hybrid school is a plan in which the first half of the alphabet will attend in-person classes on Monday, and the second half attend the next day. This repeats for the next two days. On Fridays everyone attends online school. There are links on Google Classroom for Google Meets that those who are at home will use to attend classes if they feel up to attending classes.
Although it’s a big change from previous years for returning students, the freshmen are left with the responsibility of learning the school as well as the new procedures.
“My freshman year is a little strange,” freshman Nathan Steurer said. “I get stressed walking through the halls, but I’m glad to see everyone following the new rules.”
Many students at Gibson Southern only spend a portion of their day in the building. Some have internships or are in other programs where they learn outside of a classroom. Olivia Weber is one of the students taking part in the 4T program through Toyota.
“I’m only at school for three periods a day, so the regulations here at Gibson Southern don’t affect me much,” senior Olivia Weber said, “At the 4T program, we have to wear masks, gloves and face shields when we are working on the line, which will probably get annoying. We haven’t even gotten to go out to Toyota yet; they come to us.”
Though school is currently in session, no one can be sure about tomorrow. As predicted, COVID-19 cases have appeared within the school. As of now, no additional changes will be made.